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Vesco Foods collaborative innovation strategy program


Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) develops Collaborative Innovation Strategies throughout the Red Meat Value Chain with, but not limited to:

  • Processors
  • Value adders
  • Pastoral companies
  • Lot feeders
  • Research providers
  • Technology providers

Using a structure and tailored process for each client, MLA assists the partner to develop a comprehensive innovation strategy. The innovation strategy should be integrated into the companies overall business strategy and include measurable performance indicators which identify the contribution of innovation to the ‘bottom line’ and achievement of key business objectives. Ultimately the innovation strategy is expected to contribute to the enterprise’s long-term profitability, competitiveness and sustainability.

Capability building activities

Vesco Foods joined MLA’s Collaborative Innovation Strategy program in January 2008. Vesco Foods was looking to improve and expand their range of red meat products, however, they were lacking knowledge of red meat and its qualitative characteristics, prompting the collaboration with MLA.  

In 2007, when Vesco Foods first began collaboration with MLA, their production predominantly used protein sources other than red meat. While Vesco Foods had previously worked with red meat, they encountered difficulties with producing an end product that met the requirements of customers and produced only 2 red meat value added products. Vesco Foods also faced issues with existing supplies of ingredients, technologies and internal processes and skills that were limiting their capacity to achieve their goal of producing quality red meat prepared meals that exceeded customer satisfaction.

Outcomes - product development

Prior to joining the MLA Collaborative Innovation Strategy program, Vesco Foods did not hold a significant share of the red meat value added product market in Australia.

Vesco Foods faced a number of barriers in expanding their range of red meat products including lack of in-house knowledge of red meat, issues with supply and specification, inappropriate technology and limited customer engagement.

At the end of the program with MLA, Vesco had developed and launched 60 new red meat products. This was an increase in beef volume use of 26%.

This increase in red meat product production was achieved by strategically addressing the areas that were preventing Vesco Foods from progressing in the red meat industry.

Outcomes - capability development

Placement of a trained butcher chef, with knowledge of red meat characteristics, within Vesco Foods through the Collaborative Innovation Strategy program was key to building capability within capability. 

The position allowed knowledge to be built within the company and provided a champion for promoting the success and development of red meat value added products. 

Presence of a butcher chef on staff also gave other members of the Product Development Team access to advice and knowledge on a daily basis.

Outcomes - training

Throughout the collaboration between MLA and Vesco Foods, MLA delivered training sessions for Vesco Foods staff in meat supply and meat processing. As knowledge or red meat and it’s potential increased, the number of innovative red meat products being produced also increased. 

Outcomes - technology

Several conventional technologies were identified as meeting the requirements of Vesco Foods and the new red meat products being developed. These included;

  • A tenderising injector
  • Mincers
  • A vacuum tumbler
  • Combi-steamers

Installation of these pieces of equipment resulted in a 33% improvement in processing efficiency equating to a saving of $4/kg.

Outcomes - marketing

Establishing the market for new products is a key component of successfully securing market share. Throughout the Collaborative Innovation Strategy program Vesco foods identified a range of customer groups and developed products to suit their needs.

The products developed for the identified customer groups included;

  • Large serve meals for customers with large appetites developed under a proprietary brand
  • ‘On-the-go’ snacks and mini-lunches for mining site workers
  • Meals for gastric band patients that meet strict nutritional requirements
  • Retail and school meals for children 
  • Plated ready meals for slow cookers


The Vesco Food and MLA collaborative Innovation program has been a resounding success. Solid growth in every aspect of the business from raw material purchase to production expertise and even happy customers can all be attributed to this outstanding program. Red meat production increased by 79% and forecasts predict further improvement on sales in 2011/12 

Vesco foods now understand and have the capability to sustain ongoing R & D and have developed a culture for Innovation within the company. Training will now be an ongoing program in the pursuit of best practise and excellence in business.


Title Size Date published
77.2KB 01/06/2011

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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